Who is this?

February 13, 2012

Yesterday, Phil Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, coming back from a 6 shot deficit at -9 to start the day Phil posted a 64 on the final day, while Tiger Woods posted a 75. We had been told all week how Tiger was getting back, getting better, getting closer, “feeling it.” Instead, he laid an egg AGAIN on a final day–a day when his arch rival played his best.

But that’s just it–for the Tiger I know, there’s no way Phil Mickelson COULD HAVE shot a 64 on a final day. The aura of Tiger would have engulfed him long before he could get rolling.

Now, I’m a happy camper to see something as exciting as yesterday’s finish on a cold Sunday in February. Golf can only hope for such a great thing to happen more often. But it showed us how far we’ve come since TigerGate. And, it shows me definitively:

this is not Tiger anymore.

There was a time when the mere sound of a Tiger crowd roar caused other players to miss putts, to flub bunker shots, to hit errant drives, to push themselves too far. Yesterday, I watched in awe as Tiger holed out from a bunker for birdie, only to see Phil make a 30-foot putt to save par. Years ago, Phil would’ve 3-putted under the circumstances.

You have to give credit to the guy who won–Phil played excellent golf. But I can’t help but wonder who it was that lost. This isn’t Tiger. This is something else altogether.

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